How has Lyme Disease affected your life?
In an instant, one tick bite changed my life forever. I was around 7 years old and didn’t even know what a tick was, let alone what it would lead to. The life I knew as a very active and healthy child began to decline. From around the time of that first bite (which I had quickly forgotten about) all I really knew was something was different about me and I never felt well. I hid behind a smile while I was in physical, emotional and mental pain. That first tick bite led to many diagnoses and too many medications to count. I was in and out of doctors offices and hospitals being told my case was too complicated for several years. I am now 39 and have seen hundreds of doctors and have been to many treatment centers trying tirelessly to recover from the numerous conditions I had been diagnosed with along with the illnesses I was misdiagnosed with. I became very lonely, isolated and even questioned if fighting this extreme pain was worth it. I am very determined and decided I would not give up. Somehow I would have to find out what the root cause of more than 70 symptoms and several illnesses was. I figured I hadn’t been through such excruciating pain for nothing. I knew my purpose was to one day help motivate others through their struggles. About 5 years ago, I was bitten by another tick and had the rash that proved beyond doubt that I had Lyme Disease. Several doctors still refused to do the lab work, but I continued to fight for an answer.
The first time I was finally tested for Lyme Disease the doctors said there was no way I had Lyme Disease since the test came back without a clear cut answer, which according to them meant every single symptom must be due to Migraines. As frustrated as I was, I wasn’t done. I love to research and did so for months until I could figure out what needed to be done. I knew I had to fight harder than I ever had as my symptoms became so intense that I could barely walk. My brain was deteriorating and I had to act quickly. After much research and many phone calls around the United States, I came across a clinic in Florida that I believed could help me. As soon as I could, I got on a plane with my service dog Cooper and arrived in Florida a day before I met the Doctor who immediately knew upon extensive testing exactly what was causing every single symptom on my list. I not only had Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease that was affecting everything from my head to my toes. I was also diagnosed with many co-infections, Mold poisoning and Chronic Fatigue. Not one drop of my blood was Lyme free. Yes, it may have taken almost 30 years to find the treatments I needed, but I did! It felt good to know with the support of some wonderful people along the way, I never gave up. I loved Cooper, my family and those who put hours into helping me, too much to stop fighting. I was very blessed to be able to get to Florida three different times for months each time to receive the IVs and other treatments I desperately needed. Every symptom was improving, but because Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment is not covered by insurance, I could no longer afford the treatments I needed. I do believe these treatments saved my life. After learning that there is no cure for Chronic Lyme Disease I now know major flare ups will continue to happen. I am getting worse and the flare ups are lasting longer. I am scared, but the fight will go on. I am currently exploring more ways to improve my quality of life. I don’t want to only exist… I want to live!
I do not want anyone else to suffer from this horrible disease. Please educate yourself about Lyme Disease, prevention and how to get treated right away. Not only are human lives affected, but dogs’ lives are too. If you have even a slight feeling you may have been infected, please get checked by a Lyme Literate Doctor as soon as possible. If your dog may have come in contact with a tick, please get to a veterinarian right away. Lyme Disease has been reported everywhere in the World except Antarctica. You don’t have to live in certain areas to be infected and you may never see the tick that bit you or your dog. This disease can not only take over your life, but it can take your life completely.
Please remember that Health is Wealth. Never take one day for granted, especially a safe and healthy one.
What inspires you?
I want to thank my sweet dog Cooper for being by my side through this. He knows I’m sick and lays with me for hours at a time, making sure I know I am never fighting this disease alone. He keeps me going even on the hardest days. He is my main reason to fight for my life; him, the people I love, my faith and each person who is also fighting chronic illness.
“Look for something positive each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.” ~Unknown